As most of you are aware a high profile violent event occurred this week in Oregon. This violent act generates a ‘critical period’ (predictable time frame for increased threat making and threat related behaviour) throughout the impact zones where immediate coverage exists.
This traumatic event may contribute to an increase in behavioural baseline among some vulnerable students throughout the province and beyond.
We provide the following reminders for consideration:
We are now in a critical period which is a ‘predictable time frame for increased threat-making or threat-related behaviour’ that will extend at least two weeks beyond the extensive media coverage.
It is essential to stay hyper-vigilant when receiving any reports of students exhibiting worrisome behaviour.
Be aware that if there is a shift in the behavioural baseline of a student it is important to collect data in collaboration with local support agencies and conduct other assessments prior to taking any disciplinary measures.
The school/police relationship is the foundation for Stage 1 Violence Threat/Risk Assessment (VTRA) and staff should be formally connecting with each other to review the VTRA protocol/process. Mental health, child protection, probation and other related community partners should be informed as to the contents of this communication.
Under reaction is still the biggest problem we have where VTRA-trained professionals, for different reasons, do not activate the protocol/process.
High profile violence does not cause people to go from zero (no risk) to sixty (extreme risk) – instead it simply “intensifies already existing symptoms”.
All VTRA cases that come to your attention need to include a digital data collection on the person(s) of interest as that is where we find the most blatant pre-incident signs and indicators.
We need to “strategically” intensify our connections with our highest risk children and youth (Empty Vessels) during this time as no one can engage in a serious act of violence unless they feel “justified” in attacking that target or type of target. The power of positive, meaningful human connection is one of the best violence prevention strategies we can easily employ.
To formalize multi agency collaboration for VTRA, and the development/utilization of VTRA protocols, sets us apart as a leading nation in our prevention/intervention success. Our level of commitment to learn and act together continues to save many lives with data driven interventions.
Kevin Cameron, Executive Director,
Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response
Theresa Campbell, President,
Safer Schools Together